The April 19, 2018, edition of GQ magazine had an article titled: 21 Books You Don’t Have to Read. The author included books like: The Old Man and the Sea; Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and even The Lord of the Rings.
My wife and I get to the west coast of the U.S. at times and when we do…I have a confession to make.
We do love a hot, unique at times, different and fresh meal. But every chance we get, we’ll request or gravitate toward a place called In-N-Out Burger. It’s fresh, it’s hot, it’s clean, it’s friendly and it’s fast-food at its best! Real milkshakes, real fries, real burgers with very few menu options
My wife goes for the “protein burger” and I go for the “Double-Double.” That’s 100% of double the meat and double the cheese. Harry and Esther Snyder started this California craze in 1948. Not until the 1970’s did they start to expand and today there are around 250 restaurants as far east as Texas. The current owner is Lynsi Snyder, the Snyders’ only grandchild.
But it was Harry and Esther’s son, Rich, who did something unique, something a bit subtle and yet awesome. Rich was a devoted born-again Christian; it was Rich who decided to add the Bible verses to the chain’s cups and burger wrappers. “Hamburgers are so popular,” his pastor at the Calvary Chapel explained. He thought it was a great way to, “Awaken people to the fact that the Bible is relevant and has the answers for today’s problems.”
On every burger wrapper, on every French fry box and on every beverage cup there is a scripture from the word of God. Yep, Harry and Esther’s son, Rich, is still getting God’s word out to every customer who comes through the door even though he was killed in a plane crash many years ago.
Not my usual blog post, but I do love a good burger. So, if you’re ever near an In-N-Out Burger restaurant, it’s one great fast-food meal. Make it a date night with your bride!
Here’s a really practical, tip-filled article to help you with your next car purchase (pass it along to your friends). In 1996 I helped to start a car business with a friend and I have been purchasing cars for people ever since. I love providing this service and am amazed at what people do not know when it comes to a car purchase. Maybe you have something to add to the list, feel free to comment.
- Look for or find an honest licensed car dealer who also does custom orders/purchases directly from dealer-only auctions. They can find what you desire and not have to necessarily run it through the expensive prep of their retail lot. It is a more direct/custom purchase.
- Cars do lose value; we all know that. But there are brands that lose less value. For example, the number one selling car in the world is a Toyota Corolla. This car will maintain a relatively decent value. Honda’s are similar. You want to go luxury? Try Lexus or Acura, they will not lose their value nearly as quickly as say, a BMW or Audi.
- Save cash for your car. Cash purchasers almost always make better deals. But, if you absolutely have to loan money, find a credit union. Locally we have credit unions with interest rates of 1.49% for used cars.
- Buy used from a dealer who can also repair your car. They will normally stand behind the sale. That said, stay away from the TV guy who says, “Buy here, pay here, even if you have no job.” That dealer will be charging you an exorbitant interest rate.
- Another idea. Locate a “wholesaler.” This is a person who purchases used trade-ins from large dealerships and who prepares them for wholesale, dealer only auctions. Now before anyone rejects auctions as the place for “junk,” please understand that every dealer you know uses them. It is how the used car business operates today. Most every retired rental car and post lease car heads to auction to be sold to the highest bidder.
- Find a dealer who still has a “90-day unit.” Most large volume dealers will send their 90-day units to the auction to sell. If they do not, it looks like they are not selling/moving cars. They will pick up new cars at the auction(s) while they are also selling these units. The dealer would rather sell to Joe Public at a discounted rate because at auction they will often lose money on the vehicle.
- Negotiate a price. If the deal is a non-negotiable offer, be sure to check on floor mats and the most recent state inspection. While you’re at it, ask for the “dealer fee” to be dropped or renegotiate it.
- DO NOT blindly trust Carfax or similar Internet reports. I have seen cars at auction that have had serious repairs while the Carfax states the car is “accident free.” Someone with a good eye, a body shop guy, a really good mechanic can tell if the car was in an accident. There will almost always be paint indicators of such work. By the way, it is really difficult today to find a used car that has not had some kind of fender bender, but I look for that car that was hit in the rear or the backside vs. the front.
- Talk to people; they are your best resource. Find that gently used car that belonged to someone’s grandma who no longer drives. You can also find these cars at estate sales. It is not a surefire deal, but at least you know if the car was maintained properly or not.
- Before trading your car, go to KBB.com and check the “trade-in” price. It will give you an index to work with. I tell most people, don’t trade your car, sell it outright and you will most likely do better without a trade.
- The very best time to purchase a car is at the end of the year, the last three weeks of December. The second best time is at the end of a quarter and the third best time is at the end of the month. These are times where dealers are doing everything they can to sell greater inventory in order to post higher sales numbers.
- Pray. Ask God. Be patient and be in agreement if you’re married. Wait for the best deal, there are tons of cars out there.
- And lastly, avoid “in season” purchases. What does that mean? If your part of the country is approaching winter, it is THE WORST time to buy a four-wheel drive. Purchase those coming out of winter when dealers are attempting to dump them. If it’s vacation time, hold off on that new van, everybody wants one in that season and it drives the market price up.
There you have it. I hope these practical words of advice help you in your next vehicle purchase. Happy shopping!
Bonus: Often persons ask me about “flood cars.” These cars are not allowed to be sold at dealer auctions, but if they slip through be sure to ask the dealer where the car was last titled (its life history). Then do the smell test. A car that was detailed after a flood condition will always smell moist or stale (sour). If the car is sitting in the sun (and it should be), moisture might gather on parts of the window glass — another indicator. Cars can recover from floods, but if the total interior is not removed (including the complete dash unit) and cleaned, the stench will remain. If you suspect something is wrong, you can request that the dealership remove an interior door panel to look for signs of water damage.
Running out of ideas for inexpensive, but fun date nights? It’s time to celebrate your Valentine, so here are a few ideas, many that my wife and I have enjoyed over the years:
1. Visit an open house or a new model home for creative decorating and renovating ideas.
2. Try a new hiking or biking trail in your area.
3. Rent a Red Box movie or download a free movie.
4. Visit several local thrift stores or a flea market and enjoy some bargain hunting.
5. Go on a coffee, tea or ice-cream date.
6. Is there indoor ice-skating in your area? If not, try bowling.
7. Take some back country roads you’ve never driven on and see where you end up. Keep the conversation going while you enjoy the drive.
8. Try a new museum or art gallery. Look for tours you haven’t been on in your locale.
9. Visit your favorite wing night restaurant.
10. Take advantage of free music concerts at local parks.
11. Cook together or create a new dessert.
12. Go on a scenic photo shoot and take some selfies. Then, post them on-line or on Facebook and ask your friends to guess where the pictures were taken.
13. If you’re near your home area, take your spouse to a favorite childhood spot.
14. Watch a really old movie you love or never viewed before.
15. Take a night walk. Be sure to use a reflective vest and carry a flashlight.
Bonus date: Dig out your old photo albums, sit on the couch and laugh! Send us your ideas.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you!
Facebook and social media in general have seemingly taken over our lives in some good and some not so good ways. What follows are a few ways in which I wish Facebook posts didn’t exist; posts I’d rather not read.
- Pictures of what you are making or eating for dinner.
- How boring your day was and how you feel at the moment.
- Pictures of your family pet doing absolutely nothing.
- Political articles or posts that are caustic, often falsely reported or of no literal value when it comes to making conscientious political decisions.
- You or others working out at the gym.
- Constant pictures of your new hairstyle, clothing or latest tattoo.
- Off color jokes and the like.
- Half dressed persons doing half-baked, questionable activities.
- Reposting posts that you have not fact checked or checked the background on as to whether or not they are even true. (Suggestion, check: snopes.com first)
- Your latest practical joke that is almost criminal.
Why? Remember who you reflect and who you represent. If you do not police your own posts, the only “friends” and “followers” you’re ever going to have might be stalkers, psychologists, your employer or potential employer and/or the police. Most assuredly they won’t give you a “like.”
I have written eleven clear principles that will keep you in debt and closely involve you with a spirit of poverty. This being satirical, I am hoping you are not following any of these principles!
- Always spend more than you take in monthly. Keep it up so that for the year you have spent more than you have made.
- Do not tithe and refrain from giving to those in need.
- Go hard and go often for more and more things to possess. Fill your garage, your basement and your shed.
- Never operate with a budget so you will never have to keep track of expenses.
- Keep a large credit card balance and when the monthly bill comes pay only the minimum.
- Do not start or maintain a savings account.
- Purchase your furniture, your TV’s, your cars, your boat and your family vacations with the help of a personal, high interest bank loan.
- Watch what your neighbors purchase and do your best to stay one-step ahead of them. If they buy a Toyota car, go for a Lexus or a Mercedes.
- Never keep track of your insignificant purchases. Tell yourself that this is just miscellaneous spending that simply doesn’t amount to much.
- Make regular use of, “Loans to Payday” or “Title Loan” offers and have a contest to see who can pay the highest amount of interest.
- Never be accountable with your money, it’s yours.
Solomon, wisely wrote: Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, wisdom is more precious than rubies…With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. (Proverbs 8) One man gives freely, yet gains even more…a generous man will prosper…whoever trusts in his riches will fall… (Proverbs 11) The borrower is servant to the lender… (Proverbs 22)
Every once in a while I throw in a blog that has little or nothing to do with my normal subject matter, like toilet seat ramblings. In this entry I thought I would take some time and reveal to you 45 things you might not have known about me in random order, just to let you into my life a little deeper. So, here goes…
- I grew up in Lancaster County, PA, USA.
- My mother was a Lutheran and my father was of the Russian Orthodox denomination.
- I grew up in the country (three miles outside of a small town) for the first 17 years of my life and at heart, I am a country boy.
- At age 16 I was introduced to the gospel for the first time and at age 17 I asked Jesus into my life.
- I spent four years in the US Air Force during the Vietnam conflict.
- Since around age 45 onions and garlic hate me.
- In the first year of marriage, I was diagnosed with a blood disorder (I had to experience a bone marrow test) and in the first year of my marriage I was totally healed of the very same blood disorder by the only One who heals.
- I have now been married to the love of my life and my best friend, Mary, for forty years.
- I am enjoying the experience of my sixth decade of life.
- I love fast cars and fast motorcycles.
- I actually raced motorcycles (enduros) for a few years of my life.
- I bought my first motorcycle when I was 15 and I rode that bike everywhere without a license plate or a driver’s license.
- I lied about my age and secured my first “real” job at 15, washing dishes in an elderly care facility and, yes, I rode my motorcycle to work.
- While in the military, I became a Non-Commissioned Officer and graduated first in my class.
- Many years of my childhood I spent in a tent in the “woods” or down by the creek and camped there every weekend.
- I have one sibling, a sister who is eighteen months older than me.
- I love the mountains, the fresh water streams, the majestic trees, the animals, the sounds and the smells.
- I have now walked with my Lord for 44 years and He has been nothing but faithful to me.
- Mary and I lived and served as missionaries for eight years of our married lives.
- My worst job ever was baling hay at a neighbor’s farm as a kid and getting paid $1.00 per day.
- Writing does not come easy to me.
- My favorite pie is shoe-fly. I will choose it over cake any day of the week.
- I was in a rock band as a teenager.
- I have made many mistakes (failed) many times and realize that failure is a great teacher.
- I am a “saver” for future investment of course.
- I have a used car business on the side.
- I hunted white tail deer for over 30 years and was fortunate enough to bag many bucks and does.
- I like old things like furniture, cars, trucks and motorcycles.
- I enjoy creating things with wood, building and renovating.
- I really enjoy fixing things.
- I built (with lots of help) my own house in 1987.
- Saving water and electricity, any utility, is something I try to do while caring for the environment God has given us to steward.
- Don’t hate me, but I think Apple products are great (as I write this on a MacBook Air).
- I enjoy flea markets.
- I rebuilt a 1953 Chevy 3100 pickup truck and successfully got it on the road.
- I am crazy about living debt free and helping others to enjoy the same.
- I love any kind of nuts, except pecans.
- I lived in two other states before returning to my roots in Pennsylvania.
- I continue to find areas of insecurity in my life.
- I enjoy NASCAR and actually drove a stock car at the Dover Delaware Monster Mile track once.
- I really like to read books that challenge and grow me as a leader.
- I tend to stay away from people who promise you the world and deliver nothing.
- I am told that I am tenacious and I actually see that as a positive.
- I struggle, over analyze and think too much when someone I love is going through a difficult time in their life.
- I love Jesus more than ever and continue to grow in the realization that He loved me first.
There you have it. I am sure I have 45 more, but I’ll not bore you any further. Thank you for reading my blog and sending your comments. Keep forwarding them if you find something helpful for others.